WHO ARE YOU?
I’m Peter Baber, reviews editor for Practical Motorhome, and I’ve been a keen motorcaravanner for many years.
WHY ARE YOU A LOCAL AUTHORITY ON LEEDS?
I worked in the city for the whole of the noughts, and still travel back there at least once every two months. Or at least I did before the lockdown.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
I wasn’t at all surprised when Channel 4 decided to relocate to Leeds when it was looking for a new HQ.
Unlike some other northern cities, Leeds doesn’t spend the whole time trying to tell you it’s the next best to London at this, that and the other.
It just is what it is – although it does manage to have its own thriving opera house, a ballet company and a football club that has finally made it back into the Premiership.
The city was also relatively lucky (if you can call it that) during World War II. There are only a few obvious bomb sites, meaning that much of its glorious Victorian architecture remains intact to this day. And the city centre is quite small – you can easily walk across it in 10 minutes.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLAE TO VISIT IN THE AREA?
Even if you are not particularly keen on shopping, the Victoria Quarter will take your breath away, with its incredibly ornate interior. It recently opened an extension that looks as if Dubai has landed in the West Riding.
Kirkgate Market next door (Europe’s largest covered market) is always very lively, as you would expect from the place that witnessed the birth of Marks & Spencer.
But if you grow tired of Mammon, drive out to the Thackray Museum of Medicine by St James’s Hospital.
Its exhaustive look at 19th- and early 20th-century medical breakthroughs, and vivid recreation of a Victorian slum street (where you are allocated a character, and only find out later whether they made it through) will leave you very glad that you live in the 21st century (despite the pandemic).
WHICH LOCAL CAMPSITE WOULD YOU RECOMMEND, AND WHY?
Rudding Holiday Park is well-kept, with loads of facilities. Emmerdale fans might like Esholt Caravan Park, in the village where the soap is filmed.
WHAT FOOD AND DRINK IS THE AREA KNOWN FOR?
Beer, obviously. Although the Tetley Brewery has moved elsewhere, there is still a great selection of local beers to try at any of the city’s excellent pubs – in particular, The Calls.
TELL US SOMEWHERE GREAT TO EAT!
Leeds is the best city in the north to site a restaurant – so Raymond Blanc told me when he launched the latest Brasserie Blanc by the River Aire.
I also really like Sous le Nez en Ville, a basement bistro in Quebec Street. My kids love Little Tokyo, a sushi bar just behind Briggate, with its rather wonderful koi carp ponds.
You might know of The Man Behind the Curtain, the latest Michelin-starred sensation in Vicar Lane. But for cheaper fare, don’t miss Trinity Eats, the food hall in the Trinity Centre.
WHERE CAN YOU GET SPARE KIT?
Leeds Caravan Centre, at Scholes on the A64.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND THE CHEAPEST PETROL/DIESEL?
Try Sainsbury’s, by the White Rose Centre on the A6110.
WHERE SHOULD YOU AVOID?
Local people would probably say don’t go to Holbeck, just south of the railway station. I certainly wouldn’t recommend wandering around there late at night. But at any other time, even here you can find amazing architecture, such as Victorian mills that were built to look like grand Italian renaissance churches, or Egyptian temples.
SHARE A SECRET HIGHLIGHT ONLY THE LOCALS WOULD KNOW…
Not many people are aware that Leeds, not Hollywood, is actually the birthplace of the motion picture. Louis Le Prince, a Frenchman who relocated to Leeds, can stake a claim to having made the first-ever cine film when he captured members of his family wandering in Roundhay, and the traffic on Leeds Bridge, back in 1888.
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North East England: Practical Motorhome Travel Guide
From Moor to Dale – A Yorkshire Tale
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